hiding in my car
I ought to go in there. I really ought to.
I mean, it’s my house. And 9 times out of 10, I bound up the steps. That tenth time, though. Boy. That tenth time, I’ve had a bad day, and dealing with my kids just might put me over the edge. Times like that, I just can’t go inside.
In the house, Tom’s likely wrestling both boys towards bedtime. He’s prying lips back from two sets of clenched up teeth, and trying to touch toothbrushes to tooth surfaces. He’s suggesting to Finn that the wiping of the ass might be more effective if the paper goes between the butt cheeks. He’s trying to convince Tate to crap in the toilet now, instead of later in his pull-up, when it will be unspeakably disgusting for all involved.
In the bath, there will be water, sloshing all over. Tate will want to take Thomas the Train and his friend Percy swimming. It will sound like this, to Tom and any neighbor in a five house radius: “PUSSY WANTS TO GO SWIMMING!!” There will be the ten millionth explanation of why you can’t put wooden toys into the tub. There will be whining that the water is too cold (Finn), and simultaneously, too hot (Tate). Inevitably, there will be “DON’T GET WATER ON MY SCRATCH/FAKE TATTOO/CHUCK-E-CHEESE STAMP/BAND-AID!!” There will be screaming. There will be tears, most of them Tom’s.
But out here in my car, all is serene. I can listen to the radio and check my texts. The wireless in the house works just as well out here in front of the parking strip. If the light is good, I might do my nails. Base coat, color, second coat of color, topcoat. It all takes time, but you can’t rush perfection.
From out here, I can quietly enjoy the view of my denuded lawn, which has no plants in it because Tom had them all pulled out last week in a fit of gardening rage. Instead of shrubs, I can now enjoy the hole in the boards below my porch, perfectly sized for rodent entrances and exits. Tom says he will cut and paint a new board to replace the missing one. But that would seem to require woodworking skills of which I’ve seen zero evidence during our 12 years of marriage.
Sometimes if I run out of stuff to do in the car, I’ll run to my mailbox on the porch and then run back to my car with my mail. US Weekly is the best for car reading, but if it’s not Friday, catalogs will do. Frontgate is my favorite. Frontgate is like the Skymall catalog, without the plane. Tom and I play a game on the plane called “Death is Not an Option.” Every page of the Skymall catalog, you have to pick something that you must display in your home. Sometimes the kids play, but they actually want the items. Who says married people are lame? Not me. Married people can squeeze fun from the most sullen, whiny, and ungrateful rocks, not that I ever think of parenting or my kids that way.
I flip some pages in the Frontgate catalog. A Sopranos Craps Shadowbox! Tom would totally pick that. I wish he was out here in the car with me. But it’s impossible, because someone has to be inside the house with my kids.
The light is dimming. Tom’s probably settling in for the 200th reading of the haunting children’s masterpiece known as “Superman v. Mongul.” Or perhaps tonight the boys have chosen the compelling narrative arc of the Lego Star Wars Character Encyclopedia. In particular I really enjoy reading which Lego sets each character can be found in and then hearing “We don’t have that set. Can we buy that set?” Sweet dreams, boys.
I ought to go inside. But I put them to bed last night when Tom was outside in his car checking scores and poring over the Eastbay catalog. Of course, when Tom hides in the car, I run outside with no shoes on and stand menacingly at his window until he gives up and comes inside. I shouldn’t do that. Because I get it. Sometimes, you just need to hide in the car.
I stumbled across your blog while trying to figure out what bike to buy- I saw your post about your Globe bike, and I was ready to buy one right then just because I was laughing so hard! Like a previous commenter, I have now read a ton of your posts. I loved this one because I have two crazy kids and I’m also an attorney, and that transition from work to home- and all of personality transformation that entails (..oh right, I need to be patient now…)- is often not my finest moment- so wonderful to be reminded of the humor in it- and a place for US Weekly to boot- thank you!
thank you for stopping and reading. it’s gratifying to read experiences similar to our own, isn’t it?
Hi Yoona, A friend of mine posted this on her FB page via mylittlegreenshop.com so your post is getting some mileage. Congrats — it was a great and funny read. And oh so true!
fab! thank you for passing it along!
A friend just forwarded me your blog and I stayed up WAY too late reading so many of your posts. I could identify with EVERY one (especially about accidentally loving More magazine and Born shoes). Laughing out loud at every one…I could go on, but then it would just be weird. Keep on writing 🙂
Awesome. Thank you for writing to let me know. Helps spur me on during low inspiration spells like the one I’m experiencing now. And thanks for reminding me that I need to subscribe to More
So true about the Star Wars character encyclopedia! It’s just a giant catalog. And the ones my son wants are older collectibles for hundreds of dollars.
Wanting without getting is good for character building. That’s what I tell
Are the TV gods calling? Do I sense a new smash hit? Move over Modern Family. Make way for Yoonanimous!
only if I can make out with that guy who plays the dad
sounds frighteningly familiar
an epidemic of parental avoidance
Welcome to hang out on our porch too. I’ll give you the WIFI code!
such excellent neighbors!
Fast forward a decade and it will be your kids hiding from you, waiting until you’ve gone to bed before they stumble in. As you reap, so shall you sow….
Ah great, thanks
You’re creating such a wonderful record of your family’s rituals! It’s delightful to follow. Your boys are very lucky.
About the bedtime routine: I’ve taken to hiding all the kids books I don’t like to read. If you’re looking for new material, I recommend the writer/illustrator Jon Muth. If you haven’t seen his books, they’re lovely. My favorite is Zen Shorts and the kids love it too. Come On Rain, which he illustrated, is also a great one.
A friend recommended zen shorts on this blog almost two years ago. We read it most recently two nights ago. Love that book. Will have to check out the other one!
Just so you know, I’m still, [at the ripe old age of 28, eyebags on the precipice of drooping out of my face no thanks to Cuz] screaming at my parents for getting my chuck-e-cheese sticker wet. So look forward to that.
that sticker lasted about a week despite my throwing water on to it whenever possible. chuck-e-cheese is onto something
The car outside the house! Why didn’t I think of this?!
I don’t know how you have parented without hiding in the car. Kudos
I’m not going to let Dwight see this post. He already thinks it is OK to take endlessly long phone calls (“sorry, I have to take this, it is the DA/Sheriff in XYZ county”) in the run-up to bedtime, or in those critical minutes before school when we are searching for overdue library books, matching socks and permission slips. You are Tom are making it socially acceptable for him to continue with this aberrant behavior.
No I’m trying to make it socially acceptable for YOU to engage in the behavior. How do you verify that Dwight’s phone calls are as important as he suggests? I suggest next time, you snatch the phone away and yell into it thus: “What about justice for ME? Meg out”
So true at our house as well. Except our kids usually spot us in the car, so we take turns hiding at a coffee shop instead.
Huh. Now I’m worried my kids will see me. I can always park in the driveway I guess